Student movement begins to stir in Ottawa
July 23, 2012
Police arrested two adults in relation to a student protest pushing for free tuition downtown Sunday.
Around 40 protesters marched from Confederation Park to Major’s Hill Park starting at 3 p.m. with pots and pans to accompany their chants for free education.
Police arrested two protesters for common nuisance and mischief later in the afternoon. Police said demonstrators caused traffic disruptions and concerns during their march from Laurier Avenue to Major’s Hill Park by splitting into different directions in what is called a “Snake March.”
Organizer Ian Brannigan, 23, said the protest was over and most of the demonstrators had dispersed when a few police officers approached the small remaining group and arrested two of them, who made no move to resist.
“It’s exactly what’s been happening in Quebec,” Brannigan said. “I’m really disappointed it’s happening in Ottawa.”
The student protest made a point to stand in solidarity with similar movements in Quebec, where Montreal students have staged strikes and protests against proposed tuition rises and other issues since February. Thousands in Montreal participated in a demonstration Sunday.
Brannigan said the Ottawa arrests were a move by police to intimidate protesters, but showed that their movement was noticed. At 7 p.m., hours after the conclusion of the demonstration, he stood outside the police station waiting for the two arrested friends, calling for his network to join him.
The demonstration is the first of its kind in Ottawa, organized by Ottawa Students Mobilize! in collaboration with Solidarity Against Austerity. The 22nd day of the month is the same date in March and May where Montreal demonstrations saw turnouts of hundreds of thousands of people.